Monday, December 31, 2007

Celtic Knot Sweater

We had company over the other night, and I wanted a brainless knit. For some reason (perhaps relating to the brainless requirement, perhaps because I've been trying to make myself not work on it so that I finish Durrow) I completely forgot about my sock yarn blanket. Instead, I realized that I had the right needles (sort of) to start the celtic knot sweater, even if I don't have the right needles to continue.
Celtic Knot Sweater
So I cast on for the size I intended to make, and knit as far as I was supposed to on the smaller needles. Yeah, not far.

1. I think I'm going to love this sweater when it's done. :)
2. The pattern calls for 4 mm needles to start. My boye needle gauge says that a US 5 is 3.75 mm, and a US 6 is 4.25 mm. Urm...? So I went with my US 5 3.75 mm needle. (I need to look at the US sizes in order to remember if I have them. I think it's because I (re)learned to knit while living in the USA.) However, later I checked the KnitPicks site to see if they had 4 mm needles, and their US 6 corresponds to 4 mm. I happen to have some Options in US 6. Whoops. Oh well... as:
3. Using the US 5 needles, I got an approximate gauge of 19 stitches to four inches. (Yeah, it's a bit hard to measure with so little knit.) The pattern on the larger (US 8 / 5 mm) needles is supposed to be 18 stitches to four inches. Somehow I don't think I'm going to get gauge on US 8 / 5 mm needles. (I *wish* they had specified what gauge I was supposed to get on the smaller needles!) Thus, I *need* to swatch for both this project and Klaralund (which also calls for US 8) before I go off to Ram Wools to buy nice needles.
4. This bit I've knit so far is *wide*. I've measured my weasley, and it's half way between the size I'm knitting and the next size down. I'm wondering if I should go down a size, or go for really baggy. (My old Klaralund isn't that helpful... it's stretched to be wider at the bottom than at the top. The Klaralund size I knit previously is the same as the smaller sized Celtic Knot sweater, but I'm not sure I actually got anything close to the recommended gauge... I didn't swatch, and I can't remember if I measured gauge at any point. I do remember using the called-for needles, but I can't remember if that was when I was a tight knitter, or after I had loosened up.)

Also, the join on the Addi Natura needles I'm using? Ugh:
Addi Natura Join
Here's a close-up:
Addi Natura Join
(My flickr account was getting full, so I shrank the photos before uploading them last night.) I hadn't used these needles before now. I really doubt these needles would work for something like lace yarn, with how nasty the joins are. There's even some roughness on the bamboo right by the join. (I need to sand it.) I don't think I'll be buying any more Addi Naturas. (I think I got them to see if I liked them more than the Addi Turbos... this was back in the day before KnitPicks Options or Addi Lace. Not that I've had a chance to try Addi Lace needles yet.)

Moss Grid Hand Towel

I also finished the moss grid hand towel yesterday. The yarn ball was fun near the end:
Diminishing Ball
I knew I was running out of yarn, so I tried doing eleven grid repeats instead of twelve, but didn't even have enough yarn after that for two rows of the moss border. So I ripped back and ended up with ten repeats and a full border, plus some left over. Here it is, all crunchy before being washed:
Before Washing
and here it is after, much softer after a couple of trips through the washing machine:
After Washing
(I was doing laundry anyway, so I tossed it in two wash loads and one dry load.) It came out rather non-rectangular, but I was able to stretch it into shape. I haven't tried drying my hands on it yet. It seems pretty casual looking for something hand knit out of linen. I blame the yarn. (It was kind of slubby, and washed to look worn.) I probably should have used smaller needles, given how loose the gauge looked. I'm not sure if it's because I seem to be a loose knitter (promiscuous and loose! shame on me!), or if the stiffness of the yarn made getting gauge hard. (As in, I'm not sure going with a smaller needle would have helped.) If I knit with flax/linen again, I think I may use the kiddie knitting machine H is passing on to me to knit it up quickly for a pre-wash before proper knitting.

Oh... if I think of it, I'll try to get a better photo using daylight some time.


Proof that I did indeed go skating yesterday:
Me, Skating
Whoops! That transition from the snow by the bench to the ice is tricky:
I'm still standing....:
I'm Still Skating
I skated all the way down the creek to the witch's hut:
End Of Trail


Shopping for interview clothes is scary. Really scary. Nothing found today. Will try again another day.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


I went skating today, for the first time this season. My feet still hurt... I might be imagining it, but I think they may have hurt microscopically less than previously. Of course, it could be my short term memory is going. I'll be able to test which tomorrow... dad's invited me to his skating thing tomorrow. (If I go, does it mean my short term memory really has gone? ;) )

Friday, December 28, 2007

Moss Grid Hand Towel WIP

Moss Grid Hand Towel WIP

This pattern is much easier for me when I use lots of stitch markers. The flash also completely washes it out.

It occurred to me tonight that if I wanted something different, I really should have knit the orange kitty I promised. Whoops.

I should be done this project pretty soon. I'd like to get it done soon enough that I can toss it in the laundry the next time I do laundry. Which would be Saturday. Which is just over a day from now. I may make it, or I may not. Perhaps I'll push laundry off until Sunday. ;)

One last thing I noticed... while working on this project, when I blow my nose, green fibers come out. What are they doing up there?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Photos

My brother took tons of photos. (Above photo stolen from him.) If you'd like to see way too many photos of Christmas at my mom's or my dad's, including plumbing, click away.

Those Crazy Chickens

(Heehee!) If only fear of change were so simple.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas #3

Christmas #3 was today. #3 is for Bob and his kids. (Only two out of three could make it... the third was originally able to come, but then got scheduled to work.) Bob's kids and I have quite different interests, and the living room can get quite cramped, so I hung out in the basement (my idea) before and after dinner. I photographed my sock yarn stash, plus a few other yarns, and also wound a few hanks into balls. I've decided my next pair of socks will indeed be for me, out of the Nature's Palette yarn I bought this summer:
I also wound my Euroflax linen so I could try it out:
Euroflax Moss Grid Hand Towel WIP
I cast on for the moss grid hand towel out of Mason*Dixon Knitting. I felt like working on something different tonight. I was going to start Klaralund, but I only have US 8 / 5 mm needles in straights and my Boye set. I can't knit sweaters on straights, because it gives me carpal tunnel. If I'm making a whole sweater, I want something nicer than my Boye needles. (I don't like how stiff the cables are.) I think I'll wait until Ram Wools has it's January sale and buy the needles then. At any rate, the Euroflax has been in my stash long enough that I really should use it. Plus I have a bathroom (or kitchen) in January that could use some "prissing up".

I also started winding my Claudia Handpaint:
But then the boys had left so I went up to watch TV with mom and Bob. I need to get some circulars for this project too, but I need to swatch first to find out what size. (These will be my northern lights socks. I mentioned my idea for them here *ages* ago.)

So... dinner was great, and I had fun in the basement. I'll call that a success for Christmas #3. ;)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas #2

Christmas #2 was fantastic! Mom, Bob, and Sophie all loved what I got them. (Although the numbers on Sophie's calendar weren't as big as last year's, they're still okay.) Since it's no longer a secret, I can share with you what I painted for Bob:
Morris Minor Convertible
It's a Morris Minor Convertible, the first car he ever owned. He had printed out a photo to hang in his "wine room" (the laundry room, where he makes wine). I snuck a photocopy of the photo, and then painted this for him to hang there instead. It turns out he likes it too much to hang in the wine room, though. *sigh* I tried... ;)

I am really happy he loves it, though!

I had to paint it really quickly, because I ended up only having one night at the art club to paint it. (I meant to start the previous week, but forgot to bring the canvas.) I had to paint it in one evening, since there was no way I'd be able to complete it secretly at home. I did put the varnish on at home, one coat at a time when it was safe, then setting it under my bed to dry.

I planted the amaryllis bulbs way late this year. To make up for it, it looks like this one is trying to bloom when it's barely out of the ground:
Of the other bulbs, four are too small to bloom (I think they are shoots off of the store bought bulbs), and the fifth looks like it'll bloom... but there's not much growth at all yet. They'd really do better if I'd water them more regularly, and fertilize them in the summer when they're in the garden, storing energy for the next year. I'm really bad about watering and fertilizing the garden.

Found on Flickr

Welcome Yule

Awesome! Now I want a fair isle fish stocking!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Socks For H

Crochet Socks

The question is, which pair next? I think I may be decadent and do a pair for myself. It's time to remind myself what's in the stash. Especially since I almost succumbed yesterday to the sale on at The Sweet Sheep. Four skeins of sock yarn and one bump of roving sat in my cart overnight while I waited for my head to clear. What really did it is that I'm pretty sure one of the skeins is quite similar to a skein in my stash. I need to pull out my sock yarn stash and fondle it some more. I need to remind myself that I don't need to be ordering more yarn right now, both because there's gorgeous stuff in my stash waiting to become socks, and because my zipper bag for sock yarn stash is completely full. That, and the fact that I have enough "winter" socks for over three weeks without doing laundry. (That doesn't count the "summer" socks that contain cotton or bamboo.)

So. I could make socks for me, or for H. Or I can decide that I can part with some of my lovely yarn and make a pair for Deneen, whom I promised more socks to.

At any rate, petting of the sock yarn is called for.

Christmas #1

Christmas Card
Card caption: Reindeer tryouts.

Christmas eve is with my dad and my brother over at my dad's place. Dad buys a tree because I like Christmas trees. We buy it a few days before Christmas when they're marked down cheap, and then we decorate while I'm over for Christmas eve.
Dad's Tree
We couldn't find the angel for the top, so I put the pheasant ornament up there. (That bag under the tree is a kilo of the candied pecan recipe I got from Bron.)

My dad gave me a desk chair!
(Of course, I asked for one, and helped pick it out, but that doesn't lessen the awesomeness of it. Although I am really fond of surprises.) My last desk chair I left back in Chapel Hill. The cushioning was kind of going on it, and the fake portion of the leather at the front of the seat cracked and was flaking off, and what was left dug into my legs. No more real/fake leather combo chairs for me! (Either real leather, or fabric. Fake leather sucks big time.) Anyway, this chair has a fabric cover, as you can probably tell, and also has memory foam. It seems really nice now, and hopefully it'll last. It was $100 off because it was on clearance (the blue ones, but not the black ones), and dad got them to take another 10% off because it was the floor model (the last one). It was still expensive, though. The prices on desk chairs is rather baffling.

Of course, there was also the stocking candy:
Mmmmm! (This is *after* sampling!) Did I mention dad's friend owns Scoop N' Weigh? Dad and I do Christmas stocking shopping there. ;)

My brother and I bought dad a new faucet for the upstairs bathroom, and installed it today.

We found this in the space under the sink:
Instant Shampoo Instant Shampoo (back)

Funny discoveries aside, the faucet did get installed, and indeed works:
It Works!
My brother did the actual installation, I was the assistant... in other words, I passed him stuff or held stuff when he needed, and crocheted socks when he didn't. I would like to point out that I am indeed capable of more than this (I probably don't need to point this out to my regular readers and friends, but I have a bit of an inferiority complex, and so I am), but there just isn't room for two under the sink. At any rate, my brother installed some shutoff valves while he was at it:
Under The Sink
Isn't the new faucet pretty?
New Faucet

For dinner we had some sushi from the grocery store (yum) (with candy before and after), and after the sink, tree and dinner were done, we watched several episodes of Dirty Jobs. (Not very Christmassy, but entertaining.)

Christmas eve was unexpectedly great. No unhappiness or grumpiness. In fact, lots of happiness. Everyone loved what they got. How nice everything was is, in fact, one of the best Christmas presents.

PS: H, your socks are ready. ;)

Seasons Greetings

Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to one and all.



My first attempt at spinning sock yarn. This is the first half of A Piece of Vermont superwash merino "Grotto". Once I've spun the second half, I'll ply the two together.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Brain Fog, Rambling

I woke up this morning with a killer headache, and my neck was all stiff too. It's not a pressure change... the barometer on my wall is holding pretty steady. I took some tylenol with breakfast. I hurt less now, but I feel rather zombie-like.

Yesterday I went out with Dad and his girlfriend and we bought a tree ($7.44... it's small, but boy do those prices drop right before Christmas), and I picked out my Christmas present from dad. I also bough a kilo of pecans to try out Bron's candied pecans recipe. When I was getting the pecans, dad asked if he could share the cost and get some of the candied pecans. I told him that I was actually planning on giving them to him for Christmas (in addition to his big present). He paid for the bag. I didn't object.

What else has been going on...?

I've been working on blanket squares.

I seamed most of one expansion panel onto Durrow, and it bags funny. Durrow is now in time-out. I have an idea that might work. Basically the problem is that Durrow is ribbed, and thus gathers in, except at the (brain fog is preventing me from thinking of the correct word) shoulder lines, causing the shoulder lines to bag funny. It might be fixed when the yarn softens with washing, and blocking the ribbing might help too. Durrow might end up being a "wear around the house" sweater though. I might be able to fix things a bit by pulling in the shoulder lines of the expansion panels a bit. But for now, it's in time out.

I screwed on the non-skid feet on my wheel. The rubber of the feet didn't seem to agree with the adhesive on the sticky pads, and they slid off the other day. This happened partway through spinning up some superwash merino for my first attempt at sock yarn. I stopped spinning until I could get the feet reattached, and haven't gotten back to it yet. My wheel is now in my (cramped) bedroom so that it's not cluttering up the living room when company comes for Christmas. I don't think I want to wait until after Christmas to continue spinning, so I may bring it upstairs and back down whenever I want to use it.

With Durrow in a state of near completion time-out, I've decided I can start my second Klaralund sweater. I haven't gotten the yarn and needles out yet, though.

I sure am grateful for the red-underline spell check feature today. My brain fog is making it hard to type coherently.

I really need to clean my room. It's a disgrace. I don't want people to see it. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but H offered to help me move. I'm rather embarrassed to let her see what a pig sty my room has become. It doesn't help that I don't actually have space to put most things away... especially since the clutter makes it difficult to dust/vacuum, and I'm not that enthusiastic about cleaning under the best of circumstances. I need to do *something*, though. I look forward to having space in my new apartment.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Found on Flickr

Fine silver and fused glass pendant

Oooo... I love the combination of the dichroic glass with the textured silver. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sock Yarn

Sock Yarn

I stopped off at Needlepoint Place on Pembina Hwy on the way home because I had heard it has yarn. They do have yarn, but not very much at all.

I haven't seen this yarn before, so I picked up a ball. It's $13+tax for a 100g ball, so relatively inexpensive for a pair of socks. The aloe intrigued me too.

I suggested she might want to consider some of the small indie dyers, like those that The Loopy Ewe and The Sweet Sheep carry, so that she has something else different to offer from Ram Wools. She wasn't able to get Koigu in (I told her it's pretty impossible for most places to get, and that Ram Wools stopped carrying it because it was so hard to get), but I figure a small store like hers would be better suited for small runs of colours that indie dyers do, as opposed to a big store with mail-order like Ram Wools, who would need minimum amounts to make it worth their while.

Her needlepoint designs (she has many that she designed herself) are wonderful, and she has absolutely *gorgeous* Russian lace (a type of bobbin lace based on Venetian lace). I may take a course from her when I have more pennies saved up. (They're not badly priced given the number of hours, the small size, and the fact that she supplies all of the equipment, etc, but still. Plus she requires you to take at least the Torchon Lace class first, and possibly the Bedfordshire Lace class before you can take the Russian Lace class. That ends up multiplying the cost.)

She also showed me a pair of felted and embroidered mittens that she made. Gorgeous! I highly recommend a visit to see her work, if nothing else. :) (And who knows... she may get in some indie sock dyers!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Contest Alert!

Help Etherknitter come up with a new activity to learn, to enter to win a Loopy Ewe gift certificate. :)


I actually made it to the mailbox on Monday, so Jennie, Kelli, and Deneen, there are packages winging towards you. (And they are actually winging... I splurged and paid the extra for airmail over surface.) Perhaps it won't be too terribly long after Christmas that you get them. (Kelli: I sent yours to the department... I don't have your new address.)

Other things that will be mailed eventually:
• Pay it Forward folks: I haven't forgotten about you, I just haven't made your stuff yet. I'm deciding what to make.
• Orange Kitty contributors: I haven't forgotten about you either, and I'll do another orange kitty for the draw soon. I feel really guilty about this one. (I may need to be reminded about who all contributed and is eligible for the draw. I'll post a list later of those who I remember or suspect having contributed, and you can ask to have your name added or withdrawn if you want.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Is Wool Self-Combustible?

Penny had trouble mailing yarn again. In my quest to get to the bottom of this issue, I've submitted the question to Quirks and Quarks:
A friend of mine continually has problems mailing packages that contain wool. She is told by the postal worker that it's listed in the book of dangerous goods as being highly flammable. Recently I was listening to the Car Talk podcast, and Ray was reading from Philip McCutcheon's book "Tall Ships":

"Spaced along the upper deck were the cargo hatches with their heavy covers of reinforced hardwood planks, well chocked in and secured with three separate layers of tarpaulin, held down with ropes and more chocks to withstand the pounding of heavy seas. Below the hatches lay the reason for the ship's presence on the sea, her cargo, to be held inviolate against nature and disaster, against fire that could come from a self-combustible cargo like wool, or a cargo that could swell when it met water, such as rice."

Why is wool considered highly flammable or self-combustible, especially when wet? I have not heard of sheep in Britain (where it certainly rains) self combusting in the fields. As a knitter, I have never had my wool yarn self combust, even while washing it. In fact, one test to see if a particular yarn is wool or not is to see if it self-extinguishes after being held to a flame.

Is wool dangerously flammable or self-combustible?

Thank you.
(No, Car Talk hasn't answered me yet.)


For some reason, some mean, nasty robot thinks Swatchy's blog is a spam blog!? Wah! I've filled out the form requesting a review, but it says it may take two days to get it back. (The blog is still there, but I can't post to it.) I'm not a spammer. Do you think I'm a spammer? Do you think Swatchy is a spammer? Is this new? Are other people having this problem?

If this blog goes silent, it means that there's some blogger robot that is out to get me...

Oh... and another scary thing? If you didn't request the review in a week, they'd *delete* the blog!!! What if this happened while you were on a two week vacation? Or you just hadn't checked in in a while? (Some bloggers *are* sporadic, after all.) Would they be able to undelete it? (I suppose so, since google never throws anything out, from what I understand...)

Sunday, December 16, 2007


If I ever have kids, I want *both* copies of The Best Word Book Ever! The changes are hilarious... and oh, so educational about changing times. *grin* (Thanks, S, for the link!)

Found on Flickr

evil gingerbread man

Well, what do you know? He was on Flickr!

Found, but not on Flickr

Now this has got to be the strangest gingerbread man I've ever seen.

Git Out That Thar Darning Needle

Durrow WIP

...cuz Durrow's expansion pack is ready for installation!!! :) (This has been one rather thought-intensive expansion, and I expect the next step to be non-trivial too.)



I plied tonight.

Found on Flickr

Christmas Goose


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mail, News, and Tree

Interesting assortment of mail yesterday: a Knitty calendar from Jennie (thanks Jennie!!!), US District Court Approved Refund Notice (something about credit cards and foreign purchases), and a bill from my Canadian credit card (thankfully fairly low).

News that came in overnight: My Tante Mitzi passed away last night. This is actually sort of happy news... she hasn't really been alive since her stroke many years ago. Now she's not suffering any more. (We won't be going to the funeral, because that's over in Austria. Kind of sad for her, though, because I'm not sure she has many people who will be going. She lived well into her nineties.)

Tree: I put it up on Thursday, and we decorated it last night. It's feeling more Christmas-y in the house now. We even figured out which station has the instrumental carols on it.

Plans for today include laundry, and making progress on Durrow. There's hope for Durrow being finished soon. :) I'm feeling in the mood for painting, too. Perhaps I'll break out the acrylics and work on some of my paintings in progress...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Ornament

Christmas Ornament

Perfect! Only a tiny scrap of this yarn leftover now, and a really cool (in my opinion) ornament for my tree. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Contest Alert!

Tiennie won a really awesome "sock knitter's advent calendar," and is sharing! Go comment before Christmas. :) (And drool at how lucky she is, and marvel at how generous she is in sharing!)

Funny Thing On The Way To School

While I was standing at the bus stop waiting for the next bus (I transfer downtown), I saw a rather funny (as in "isn't that the way" funny) thing happening on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. A woman was struggling along through the snow that fell last night (not a huge amount, but enough to make walking harder than usual), and not ten feet behind her was a sidewalk plow, plowing the sidewalk slowly so as not to run her over. Had she noticed and stepped aside, the rest of her walk would have been much easier and faster. However, she didn't notice.

Isn't that the way. Not ten seconds after you do something, something happens that would have made the whole thing easier.

Contest Alert!

Enter to win some *awesome* LoveSticks sock yarn. (I want some! Mathgirl is knitting some up, and it's *adorable*!)

Found on Flickr


Lovely! After my recent needle felting, I have even more respect for the artists who can do this. (I'm sure I could too with a better selection of colours and more experience... but I'm nowhere near this skill level yet. Perhaps one of those multi-needle tools helps too.)

Playing With Glue

Last night when I really should have been in bed I got out the glue. Presenting my Felt Wee Fairies:
Felt Wee Folk
Two of them got their wispy hair braided, the third looked better unbraided:
Felt Wee Folk
Hmmm... they're missing something. I know! Bells:
Felt Wee Folk
It seems appropriate that fairies have bells. :) (The littlest one is too small for the size of bell, in my opinion. The bells were rescued off some chocolate bunnies.)

And while I was up past my bedtime anyway, and had the box with the stuff out... I whipped up some crochet stitch markers:
Crochet Stitch Markers

Okay. Now I'm ready to mail stuff to several people. Hmmm... how to mail those two Felt Wee Folk so that they don't get crushed, yet don't cost a fortune to mail...? Ah ha! I have two tins on my bookshelves that should do the trick. :) Now I just have to deal with envelopes and a trip to the post office...

PS: I wasn't really up *that* late... just not as early as I could have been in bed.

Dragon Socks

Oooo... a cool use of shadow knitting on these dragon socks!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Last weekend I rearranged things so that I could have two sock drawers. I can now fit all of my socks in my dresser. :) Sadly, looking at the contents, I'm not sure how long it will be before I need a third sock drawer...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Crafty Stuff, Etc

Tonight I reinforced the cast on edge on the sleeves of my Weasley sweater:
Weasley Sleeves Reinforced
(Exciting stuff, eh?) My cuffs have a strangely thick edge to them now. (I had gotten used to them being thin and worn out.)

Then at the art club I painted the doll heads (it's easier to "get around to doing them" when I have the paint out anyway):
Felt Wee Folk Heads
(not perfect, but they'll do) and I worked on my Tuscany painting some more:
Painting WIP
There's only minor changes from last time:
• painted over two black areas in the peach field (removed one, made the other smaller)
• painted over top of the top of one of the black trees in preparation for making it into two trees, and so that the field didn't "mysteriously" change behind the tree
• added "shadows" beside the yellow rows in the back.
For something I thought I would be done in two workshop nights, this sure is taking a while! I think I've worked on it at least four evenings now, and I still have practically half the painting left! I do like how it's turning out, though, so it's worth the time.

For reference purposes, here's how it looked the last time I showed it to you:
Painting WIP

What? You want to see the heads on the dolls? Well, since I like you readers so much...
Felt Wee Folk WIP
(Only hair and hats to go!)

After art club I did a few rows on a blanket square. It's been a while since I've shown the blanket (I think), so I'll show it again too:
Sock Yarn Blanket WIP